Phytolith Analysis of Samples from Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota


Seventy-six plant samples and forty sediment samples from voyageurs National Park were analyzed for phytoliths. Leaf, stem, root, inflorescence, and where possible, seed phytoliths were extracted from each plant sample as a key against which sediment phytoliths could be compared.

All phytoliths were examined by light microscopy using a research petrographic microscope equipped with a Nomarski Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) system. Some phytoliths were also studied using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). As can be seen from Figures 1-8 the SEM is far superior as an analytical and identification tool.

A computer program was used to assign sediment phytolith assemblages to the plant(s) most likely to have been the source of these biosilicates. Hierchloe odorata (sweet grass) leaf appears to be an important component of every sediment phytolith assemblage. Zizania aquatica (wild rice) constituted a significant part of two sediment samples.

Although many aspects of this study were of a preliminary nature, there is every indication that systematic phytolith work on relevant plant species will be of value to archaeological reconstructions.

Cite this Record

Phytolith Analysis of Samples from Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. Susan Collins, George Rapp, Jr., John A. Gifford, Dennis Rondine, Margaret Thompson. 1980 ( tDAR id: 227761) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8B56MV1

Spatial Coverage

min long: -97.239; min lat: 43.499 ; max long: -89.483; max lat: 49.384 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Anne Vawser

Contributor(s): Susan Collins; George Rapp, Jr.; John A. Gifford; Dennis Rondina; Margaret Thomson

Repository(s): Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service

Prepared By(s): Archaeometry Laboratory, University of Minnesota

Record Identifiers

NADB document id number(s): 5601570

NADB citation id number(s): 000000240165


General Note: This resource originated from a citation record migrated into tDAR from the National Archaeological Database Reports Module (NADB-R). NADB identification numbers are included in the Document Identifiers section of this resource.

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
Contract-Report_Collins_Phytolith-Analysis-from-VOYA_1980.pdf 2.17mb Jun 7, 2015 10:44:29 AM Public